Ministry of Justice

The Ministry of Justice is a major government department, at the heart of the justice system. We work to protect and advance the principles of justice. Our vision is to deliver a world-class justice system that works for everyone in society.



Secretary of State

 Portrait

Dominic Raab
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice

Shadow Ministers / Spokeperson
Labour
Steve Reed (LAB - Croydon North)
Shadow Secretary of State for Justice

Liberal Democrat
Wera Hobhouse (LDEM - Bath)
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Justice)

Labour
Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede (LAB - Life peer)
Shadow Spokesperson (Justice)
Baroness Chapman of Darlington (LAB - Life peer)
Shadow Spokesperson (Justice)

Scottish National Party
Anne McLaughlin (SNP - Glasgow North East)
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Justice)

Liberal Democrat
Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames (LDEM - Life peer)
Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Justice)

Plaid Cymru
Liz Saville Roberts (PC - Dwyfor Meirionnydd)
Shadow PC Spokesperson (Justice)
Junior Shadow Ministers / Deputy Spokesperson
Labour
Alex Cunningham (LAB - Stockton North)
Shadow Minister (Justice)
Afzal Khan (LAB - Manchester, Gorton)
Shadow Minister (Justice)
Karl Turner (LAB - Kingston upon Hull East)
Shadow Minister (Justice)
Ellie Reeves (LAB - Lewisham West and Penge)
Shadow Minister (Justice)
Anna McMorrin (LAB - Cardiff North)
Shadow Minister (Justice)
Ministers of State
Victoria Atkins (CON - Louth and Horncastle)
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
Victoria Atkins (CON - Louth and Horncastle)
Minister for Afghan resettlement
Kit Malthouse (CON - North West Hampshire)
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
Parliamentary Under-Secretaries of State
Lord Wolfson of Tredegar (CON - Life peer)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
Scheduled Event
Tuesday 25th January 2022
Ministry of Justice
Orders and regulations - Grand Committee
Competition Appeal Tribunal (Recording and Broadcasting) Order 2022
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Scheduled Event
Tuesday 25th January 2022
14:00
Justice Committee - Oral evidence - Select & Joint Committees
25 Jan 2022, 2 p.m.
The work of the Law Officers
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Scheduled Event
Tuesday 8th February 2022
11:30
Ministry of Justice
Oral questions - Main Chamber
8 Feb 2022, 11:30 a.m.
Justice (including Topical Questions)
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Debates
Thursday 13th January 2022
Select Committee Docs
Tuesday 18th January 2022
00:00
Select Committee Inquiry
Thursday 2nd December 2021
Fraud and the Justice System

This short inquiry seeks to examine the ability of the Justice System to effectively prosecute fraud cases. The Committee is …

Written Answers
Tuesday 18th January 2022
Legal Aid Scheme: Post Offices
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to improve the accessibility of legal aid …
Secondary Legislation
Thursday 18th November 2021
Bills
Wednesday 21st July 2021
Judicial Review and Courts Bill 2021-22
A Bill to Make provision about the provision that may be made by, and the effects of, quashing orders; to …
Dept. Publications
Tuesday 18th January 2022
08:24

Ministry of Justice Commons Appearances

Oral Answers to Questions is a regularly scheduled appearance where the Secretary of State and junior minister will answer at the Dispatch Box questions from backbench MPs

Other Commons Chamber appearances can be:
  • Urgent Questions where the Speaker has selected a question to which a Minister must reply that day
  • Adjornment Debates a 30 minute debate attended by a Minister that concludes the day in Parliament.
  • Oral Statements informing the Commons of a significant development, where backbench MP's can then question the Minister making the statement.

Westminster Hall debates are performed in response to backbench MPs or e-petitions asking for a Minister to address a detailed issue

Written Statements are made when a current event is not sufficiently significant to require an Oral Statement, but the House is required to be informed.

Most Recent Commons Appearances by Category
Sep. 14
Oral Questions
Nov. 20
Topical Questions
Jan. 06
Westminster Hall
Jan. 11
Adjournment Debate
View All Ministry of Justice Commons Contibutions

Bills currently before Parliament

Ministry of Justice does not have Bills currently before Parliament


Acts of Parliament created in the 2019 Parliament

Introduced: 20th May 2020

A Bill to make provision about the sentencing of offenders convicted of terrorism offences, of offences with a terrorist connection or of certain other offences; to make other provision in relation to terrorism; and for connected purposes.

This Bill received Royal Assent on Thursday 29th April 2021 and was enacted into law.

Introduced: 27th February 2020

A Bill to implement the Hague Conventions of 1996, 2005 and 2007 and to provide for the implementation of other international agreements on private international law.

This Bill received Royal Assent on Monday 14th December 2020 and was enacted into law.

Introduced: 8th January 2020

To require the Parole Board to take into account any failure by a prisoner serving a sentence for unlawful killing or for taking or making an indecent image of a child to disclose information about the victim.

This Bill received Royal Assent on Wednesday 4th November 2020 and was enacted into law.

Introduced: 5th March 2020

A Bill to consolidate certain enactments relating to sentencing.

This Bill received Royal Assent on Thursday 22nd October 2020 and was enacted into law.

Introduced: 7th January 2020

A bill to make in relation to marriage and civil partnership in England and Wales provision about divorce, dissolution and separation; and for connected purposes

This Bill received Royal Assent on Thursday 25th June 2020 and was enacted into law.

Introduced: 21st January 2020

A bill to give effect to Law Commission recommendations relating to commencement of enactments relating to sentencing law and to make provision for pre-consolidation amendments of sentencing law

This Bill received Royal Assent on Monday 8th June 2020 and was enacted into law.

Introduced: 11th February 2020

A Bill to make provision about the release on licence of offenders convicted of terrorist offences or offences with a terrorist connection; and for connected purposes.

This Bill received Royal Assent on Wednesday 26th February 2020 and was enacted into law.

Ministry of Justice - Secondary Legislation

These Rules make amendments to the Prison Rules 1999 (S.I. 1999/728) (“the Prison Rules”) and the Young Offender Institution Rules 2000 (S.I. 2000/3371) (“the YOI Rules”). The amendments reflect the changes made by the Prisons (Substance Testing) Act 2021 (c. 18). That Act, which entered into force on 9 December 2021, introduced changes to improve the capability of prisons in England and Wales to test for the use of illicit substances by prisoners. Prior to the changes made by that Act prisons could require prisoners to provide a sample for any “controlled drug” or “drugs specified” in the Prison and YOI Rules. New drugs could be added to the list of those that could be tested for but only by making amendments to the rules by secondary legislation. Due to the chemical composition of psychoactive substances, in particular, being subject to rapid change this meant repeated amendments were needed in response to small changes in substance composition. The changes being made by these Rules mean that tests can be carried out for the broader generic definition of psychoactive substances and “prescription only medicines” and “pharmacy medicines” introduced by the 2021 Act. The changes made by these Rules will help staff in Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) and other agencies to understand the full extent and nature of substance misuse in prisons, and to take appropriate action to prevent it.
View All Ministry of Justice Secondary Legislation

Petitions

e-Petitions are administered by Parliament and allow members of the public to express support for a particular issue.

If an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Government will issue a written response.

If an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures the petition becomes eligible for a Parliamentary debate (usually Monday 4.30pm in Westminster Hall).

Trending Petitions
Petition Open
12,134 Signatures
(4,624 in the last 7 days)
Petition Open
1,068 Signatures
(181 in the last 7 days)
Petition Open
637 Signatures
(149 in the last 7 days)
Petition Open
573 Signatures
(100 in the last 7 days)
Petition Open
421 Signatures
(81 in the last 7 days)
Petitions with most signatures
Petition Open
12,134 Signatures
(4,624 in the last 7 days)
Petition Open
9,273 Signatures
(81 in the last 7 days)
Petition Open
7,709 Signatures
(63 in the last 7 days)
Petition Open
5,256 Signatures
(22 in the last 7 days)
Petition Debates Contributed

The offence of causing 'death by dangerous driving' should be widened to include: failure to stop, call 999 and render aid on scene until further help arrives.

134,934
Petition Closed
5 Sep 2020
closed 1 year, 4 months ago

The Government's manifesto stated “we will make intentional trespass a criminal offence”: an extreme, illiberal & unnecessary attack on ancient freedoms that would threaten walkers, campers, and the wider public. It would further tilt the law in favour of the landowning 1% who own half the country.

The maximum penalty for failure to stop after an incident is points and a 6-month custodial sentence. Causing death by careless/dangerous driving is between 5-14 yrs. The sentence for failing to stop after a fatal collision must be increased.

View All Ministry of Justice Petitions

Departmental Select Committee

Justice Committee

Commons Select Committees are a formally established cross-party group of backbench MPs tasked with holding a Government department to account.

At any time there will be number of ongoing investigations into the work of the Department, or issues which fall within the oversight of the Department. Witnesses can be summoned from within the Government and outside to assist in these inquiries.

Select Committee findings are reported to the Commons, printed, and published on the Parliament website. The government then usually has 60 days to reply to the committee's recommendations.


11 Members of the Justice Committee
Robert Neill Portrait
Robert Neill (Conservative - Bromley and Chislehurst)
Justice Committee Chair since 29th January 2020
Andy Slaughter Portrait
Andy Slaughter (Labour - Hammersmith)
Justice Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Kieran Mullan Portrait
Kieran Mullan (Conservative - Crewe and Nantwich)
Justice Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Maria Eagle Portrait
Maria Eagle (Labour - Garston and Halewood)
Justice Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
James Daly Portrait
James Daly (Conservative - Bury North)
Justice Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Rob Butler Portrait
Rob Butler (Conservative - Aylesbury)
Justice Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Angela Crawley Portrait
Angela Crawley (Scottish National Party - Lanark and Hamilton East)
Justice Committee Member since 25th May 2021
Laura Farris Portrait
Laura Farris (Conservative - Newbury)
Justice Committee Member since 8th June 2021
Kate Hollern Portrait
Kate Hollern (Labour - Blackburn)
Justice Committee Member since 13th July 2021
Paul Maynard Portrait
Paul Maynard (Conservative - Blackpool North and Cleveleys)
Justice Committee Member since 2nd November 2021
Diane Abbott Portrait
Diane Abbott (Labour - Hackney North and Stoke Newington)
Justice Committee Member since 5th January 2022
Justice Committee: Upcoming Events
Justice Committee - Oral evidence
The work of the Law Officers
25 Jan 2022, 2 p.m.
At 2.30pm: Oral evidence
Rt Hon Suella Braverman MP - Attorney General at Attorney General's Office

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Justice Committee: Previous Inquiries

50 most recent Written Questions

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department

7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 6 January 2022 to Question 94497, whether the Government plans to ensure large font and easy read formats are available immediately and not only upon request; how many large print versions have been requested; how long does it take to process these requests; and whether there are other methods of accessibility available.

The Government's Service Standard (https://www.gov.uk/service-manual/service-standard) guides government teams as to how they should design and produce content providing information regarding public services. Departments are required to make sure that all information is accessible across all channels, including online, phone, paper and face to face.

For all consultations, the department gives due consideration to the needs of the audience group and we take whatever action we can to improve reach and accessibility, including by following best practice through provision of accessible formats for consultation documents.

For the Victims Bill consultation, a large print version of the consultation document was available from publication on request; we also distributed it to key partners in the Victims sector in December. A British Sign Language version has also been developed and will be available shortly. A HTML version has gone live this week.

The number of large print versions requested for all published documents is not held centrally.

The standard accessible consultation format that Ministry of Justice uses for publications online is an ‘accessible PDF’. Accessible PDFs are readable by people using screen readers. This is made available alongside the online version on our consultation hub which meets the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines V2.1 AA standard.

James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent steps he has taken to reduce the backlog of employment tribunal claims.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 5 January 2022 to Parliamentary Question 94448.

James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate he has made of the current capacity of the prison system.

As at 7 January 2022, the total operational capacity of prisons in England and Wales was 81,291.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) publishes weekly prison population and capacity information through the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/prison-population-statistics-2022

We are committed to building as many prison places as we need. Over the next ten years, additional capacity will come in to use for a range of reasons, including new build prison accommodation, existing accommodation returning to use following the completion of essential maintenance or places coming into use following a change in function. We are investing £3.8 billion to deliver 20,000 additional, modern prison places including 2,000 temporary prison places across England and Wales. This includes creating four new prisons over the next six years and expanding another four prisons over the next three years. The first of these, HMP Five Wells in Northamptonshire, is due to open in February and work is also well underway at Glen Parva, Leicestershire.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate he has made of potential prison capacity in (a) five and (b) ten years' time.

As at 7 January 2022, the total operational capacity of prisons in England and Wales was 81,291.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) publishes weekly prison population and capacity information through the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/prison-population-statistics-2022

We are committed to building as many prison places as we need. Over the next ten years, additional capacity will come in to use for a range of reasons, including new build prison accommodation, existing accommodation returning to use following the completion of essential maintenance or places coming into use following a change in function. We are investing £3.8 billion to deliver 20,000 additional, modern prison places including 2,000 temporary prison places across England and Wales. This includes creating four new prisons over the next six years and expanding another four prisons over the next three years. The first of these, HMP Five Wells in Northamptonshire, is due to open in February and work is also well underway at Glen Parva, Leicestershire.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, which prisons are being (a) built and (b) refurbished as at January 2022.

As of January 2022, the only prison currently being built in England and Wales is Glen Parva (Leicestershire), due to open in spring 2023. Minor post-completion work is being carried out at HMP Five Wells (Wellingborough) which is due to open in early 2022. Each will provide c.1,680 modern prison places. We have started enabling work in preparation for the construction of a new prison next to HMP Full Sutton after receiving full planning permission. It is due to open in 2025.

As of January 2022, a major programme of refurbishment is underway at HMP Liverpool.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
13th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to improve the accessibility of legal aid for postmasters.

The scope of legal aid is set out under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, and applicants are subject to a means and merits test. There are limited circumstances where legal aid may be available for pursuing a compensation claim; this includes claims in relation to abuse by a public authority of its position or powers, and claims involving a breach of convention rights by a public authority subject to the statutory means and merits tests.

Where an issue falls outside the scope of legal aid, funding may still be available through the Exceptional Case Funding (ECF) Scheme, where it would breach or risk a breach of human rights or retained enforceable EU law if funding is not provided, subject to the statutory means and merits tests.

James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
12th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 11 January 2022 to Question 98968 on Courts: Repairs and Maintenance, what data HMCTS holds on the effect of (a) planned and (b) unplanned maintenance of the courts estate on the loss of sitting days prior to 4 October 2021.

HMCTS does not hold data on lost sitting days as a result of planned or unplanned maintenance, prior to 4 October 2021.

James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate he has made of the number of BAME children in youth custody in the UK.

The youth justice statistics collection is published on GOV.UK. Within these, monthly statistics on children and young people within the secure estate are released, including the ethnic background of children in custody. The latest publication providing data on those present in custody can be found via the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/youth-custody-data

Population data is also published as part of the annual report, with the most recent release covering the year ending March 2020 and the next update due for publication 27 January.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/youth-justice-statistics-2019-to-2020

Data includes those aged under 18, and 18-year olds. Some 18-year olds remain in the secure estate for children and young people if they only have a short period of their sentence to serve, to avoid disrupting their regimes.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what his policy is on international libel litigation in the UK courts; and what steps he is taking to help ensure freedom of speech in the justice system.

The Government believes that the right to speak freely and debate issues without fear of censure is a vital part of a democratic society, and that libel proceedings should not be used to impede and frustrate that debate.

The reforms we introduced in the Defamation Act 2013 have helped to rebalance the law to offer more effective protection for freedom of speech. In particular, by tightening the test to be applied by the courts in relation to libel actions brought against people who are not domiciled in the UK.

James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether he plans to bring forward legislative proposals to amend the law following the acquittal of the four people accused of causing criminal damage to a statue of Edward Colston in Bristol.

The Crown Prosecution Service can choose to refer the case to the Attorney General, and if she agrees, she can ask the Court of Appeal to review whether the law needs to be clarified. This would not change the outcome of this specific case.

Through the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, we are in the process of changing the law to ensure that those found guilty of desecrating or damaging a memorial face a punishment that better reflects the high sentimental and emotional impact these actions can have.

James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the total floor area of his departmental estate was in each year from 2010-11 to 2020-21.

Details of the department’s total floor area in each year are published as part of the annual State of the Estate report.

The most recent report can be found at the following link: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1040332/CCS118_CCS1021490260-001_State_of_the_Estate_Report_PAGES.pdf

James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many (a) people in total and (b) women were sent to prison for the non-payment of a magistrates’ court fine arising from a conviction for evasion of payment of TV licence fees in 2019.

The number of people admitted to prison for failing to pay magistrates’ court fines in respect of the non-payment of a TV licence in 2019 was two or fewer (the actual number has not been released in order to protect against personal identification), none of whom were women.

James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent discussions he has had with the Attorney General on the implications of the acquittal of four people charged with criminal damage to a statue of Edward Colston in Bristol for the criminal justice system.

In any case where there is an acquittal in the Crown Court, the Attorney General has the power to ask the Court of Appeal for its opinion on a point of law which arose in the case.

The Attorney General is carefully considering whether to make such a referral.

James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many criminal cases were heard in each (a) magistrates' court and (b) crown court in England and Wales in each year between 2016 and 2021.

The table below shows the latest published data on the number of disposals in the Crown Courts in England and Wales from 2016 to 2021. This data can be found on the criminal court statistics information page.

Number of disposals in the Crown Courts

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021 (up to June)

123,257

115,726

105,782

99,654

78,195

48,018

The table below shows the latest published data on the number of disposals of criminal cases in the Magistrates’ Courts from 2016 to 2021. This data can be found on the criminal court statistics information page.

Number of disposals in the Magistrates’ Courts

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021 (up to June)

1,566,357

1,509,022

1,456,735

1,441,778

1,040,308

590,065

For further data on disposals including by each Crown Court and by region in the Magistrates’ court please see the Crown Court cases received, disposed and outstanding tool and the Magistrates' courts cases received, disposed and outstanding tool available at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/criminal-court-statistics-quarterly-april-to-june-2021.

James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many courts with secure docks for holding defendants have been closed in England and Wales since 2012.

We do not hold information on the number of courts in England and Wales with secure docks that have closed since 2012.

The decision to close any court is not taken lightly, it only happens following full public consultation and only where sufficient capacity existed in other nearby courts to accommodate the work of the closing courts, and where suitable facilities, such as secure docks are available. Courts that have closed were either underused, dilapidated or too close to one another.

James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
11th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the number of convictions for theft of catalytic converters from motor vehicles.

Acquisitive crime is when the offender derives material gain from the crime, such as theft, burglary, fraud and robbery. Acquisitive crime, which includes catalytic converter theft, is a Home Office responsibility. Nonetheless the Government is committed to tackling the theft of catalytic converters, working closely with police and motor manufacturers through the National Vehicle Crime Working Group, established by the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for vehicle crime and overseen by the Government’s Crime and Justice Taskforce, to determine what more can be done.

The Government enacted the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 which has been instrumental in tackling this crime. The Government also funded the set-up of the National Infrastructure Crime Reduction Partnership (NICRP), which ensures national co-ordination of policing and law enforcement partners to tackle metal theft, including the theft of catalytic converters. It provides training to law enforcement and other partner agencies, shares intelligence to target offenders, and implements crime prevention measures. The British Transport Police, through the NICRP, has conducted two national weeks of actions, which resulted in 64 arrests, over 1,400 stopped vehicles and over 1,000 catalytic converters and other items of stolen property were recovered.

James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many transwomen are currently held in (a) female prisons and (b) all prisons; and how many of those offenders have previous convictions for sexual offences.

As of our latest data collection on 31 March 2021, there were 146 transgender women (that is, prisoners who were legally male and identified as female) in all prisons across England and Wales.

Of these, fewer than five transgender prisoners were housed in the women’s estate. These figures do not include transgender prisoners with gender recognition certificates, although information on these individuals will be published early this year.

On the offences committed by individuals, we are only able to provide figures for the offence or offences that have led to an individual’s current imprisonment. To provide offence information for previous convictions would involve a complex data matching exercise which would exceed the prohibitive cost threshold for responding to a Parliamentary Question. Previous convictions, along with other relevant information, are considered, however, as part of the risk assessment set out in the Care and Management of Individuals who are Transgender Policy 2019.

On current offences, in the men’s estate, there were 87 transgender women with a conviction for at least one sexual offence. In the women’s estate, the number of transgender women with a conviction for at least one sexual offence was fewer than 5. This includes prisoners with a GRC.

Where transgender prisoners with GRCs are deemed too high risk to be held in the general women's estate, they can be held on E Wing, part of HMP Downview. This allows them to be held separately with only supervised contact with other women.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many prisoners in women’s prisons have tested positive for covid-19 each month from March 2020 to December 2021.

A total of 1,096 prisoners in women’s prisons have tested positive for COVID-19 from March 2020 to November 2021. Data on the number of prisoners who tested positive for COVID-19 was published in the November edition of the HM Prison and Probation Service COVID-19 statistics monthly series. The data for December 2021 is due to be published on 14 January 2022.

The total number of prisoners in women’s prisons who have tested positive for COVID-19 each month between March 2020 and November 2021 is given in the following table.

Table 1: Number of prisoners tested positive for COVID-19 in the women's estate each month from March 2020 to November 2021.

Mar 2020

Apr 2020

May 2020

Jun 2020

Jul 2020

Aug 2020

Sep 2020

Oct 2020

Nov 2020

Dec 2020

Women Prisoners

(c)

31

18

0

0

0

0

59

107

169

Jan 2021

Feb 2021

Mar 2021

Apr 2021

May 2021

Jun 2021

Jul 2021

Aug 2021

Sep 2021

Oct Nov 2021 2021

Women Prisoners

192

146

40

3

(c)

3

44

39

12

15 215

Data Quality

Although care is taken when processing and analysing the returns, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system. Much of the data collected during the COVID-19 pandemic has been done at pace, with recording practices evolving as we understand more about the requirements and conditions we are facing. In order to present the timeliest information, the data presented in this report have not been subjected to the usual standard of quality assurance associated with official statistics.

Notes:

1). The data for the latest month are provisional due to the time lag between taking the test and recording of the results on the central data collection.

2). Values (c) are confidential to prevent disclosure of individuals.

The number of staff in women’s prisons who have tested positive for covid-19 each month between March 2020 and October 2021 is given in the following table.

Table 2: COVID-19 Positive test results for staff1,2 working in Women's prisons, by directly/non-directly employed, March 2020 to October 20213

Mar 2020

Apr 2020

May 2020

Jun 2020

Jul 2020

Aug 2020

Sep 2020

Oct 2020

Nov 2020

Dec 2020

Directly employed

~

~

~

0

~

0

9

66

77

133

Non-directly employed

~

~

~

~

~

~

5

20

22

27

Total

4

37

5

~

4

~

14

86

99

160

Jan 2021

Feb 2021

Mar 2021

Apr 2021

May 2021

Jun 2021

Jul 2021

Aug 2021

Sep 2021

Oct 2021

Total

Directly employed

178

81

18

~

3

11

43

37

30

38

770

Non-directly employed

49

19

10

0

0

4

14

13

11

12

214

Total

227

100

28

~

3

15

57

50

41

50

984

Source: MoJ/HMPPS administrative systems and data collections

Data Quality: Although care is taken when processing and analysing the returns, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system. Much of the data collected during the COVID-19 pandemic has been done at pace, with recording practices evolving as we understand more about the requirements and conditions we are facing.

Notes:

1). Counts the distinct staff who have tested positive for COVID-19. These are self-reported.

2). Where staff have multiple positive tests within a 90-day period, they are now assumed to be from the same infection and are therefore only counted once. This has resulted in a small number of positive tests being removed from the published figures.

3). October 2021 is the latest published data. The next set of data for the period to 30 January 2022 is due to be published in the Workforce Statistics Report on 17 February 2022.

~ denotes suppressed values of 2 or fewer, or other values (including zeroes) which would allow values of 2 or fewer to be derived by subtraction. Low numbers are suppressed to prevent disclosure in accordance with the Data Protection Act, 2018.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
7th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many staff in women’s prisons have tested positive for covid-19 each month from March 2020 to December 2021.

A total of 1,096 prisoners in women’s prisons have tested positive for COVID-19 from March 2020 to November 2021. Data on the number of prisoners who tested positive for COVID-19 was published in the November edition of the HM Prison and Probation Service COVID-19 statistics monthly series. The data for December 2021 is due to be published on 14 January 2022.

The total number of prisoners in women’s prisons who have tested positive for COVID-19 each month between March 2020 and November 2021 is given in the following table.

Table 1: Number of prisoners tested positive for COVID-19 in the women's estate each month from March 2020 to November 2021.

Mar 2020

Apr 2020

May 2020

Jun 2020

Jul 2020

Aug 2020

Sep 2020

Oct 2020

Nov 2020

Dec 2020

Women Prisoners

(c)

31

18

0

0

0

0

59

107

169

Jan 2021

Feb 2021

Mar 2021

Apr 2021

May 2021

Jun 2021

Jul 2021

Aug 2021

Sep 2021

Oct Nov 2021 2021

Women Prisoners

192

146

40

3

(c)

3

44

39

12

15 215

Data Quality

Although care is taken when processing and analysing the returns, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system. Much of the data collected during the COVID-19 pandemic has been done at pace, with recording practices evolving as we understand more about the requirements and conditions we are facing. In order to present the timeliest information, the data presented in this report have not been subjected to the usual standard of quality assurance associated with official statistics.

Notes:

1). The data for the latest month are provisional due to the time lag between taking the test and recording of the results on the central data collection.

2). Values (c) are confidential to prevent disclosure of individuals.

The number of staff in women’s prisons who have tested positive for covid-19 each month between March 2020 and October 2021 is given in the following table.

Table 2: COVID-19 Positive test results for staff1,2 working in Women's prisons, by directly/non-directly employed, March 2020 to October 20213

Mar 2020

Apr 2020

May 2020

Jun 2020

Jul 2020

Aug 2020

Sep 2020

Oct 2020

Nov 2020

Dec 2020

Directly employed

~

~

~

0

~

0

9

66

77

133

Non-directly employed

~

~

~

~

~

~

5

20

22

27

Total

4

37

5

~

4

~

14

86

99

160

Jan 2021

Feb 2021

Mar 2021

Apr 2021

May 2021

Jun 2021

Jul 2021

Aug 2021

Sep 2021

Oct 2021

Total

Directly employed

178

81

18

~

3

11

43

37

30

38

770

Non-directly employed

49

19

10

0

0

4

14

13

11

12

214

Total

227

100

28

~

3

15

57

50

41

50

984

Source: MoJ/HMPPS administrative systems and data collections

Data Quality: Although care is taken when processing and analysing the returns, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system. Much of the data collected during the COVID-19 pandemic has been done at pace, with recording practices evolving as we understand more about the requirements and conditions we are facing.

Notes:

1). Counts the distinct staff who have tested positive for COVID-19. These are self-reported.

2). Where staff have multiple positive tests within a 90-day period, they are now assumed to be from the same infection and are therefore only counted once. This has resulted in a small number of positive tests being removed from the published figures.

3). October 2021 is the latest published data. The next set of data for the period to 30 January 2022 is due to be published in the Workforce Statistics Report on 17 February 2022.

~ denotes suppressed values of 2 or fewer, or other values (including zeroes) which would allow values of 2 or fewer to be derived by subtraction. Low numbers are suppressed to prevent disclosure in accordance with the Data Protection Act, 2018.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps the Government is taking to prevent people released from prison from re-offending within 14 days of their release.

This Government is committed to reducing crime by tackling reoffending. We know the likelihood of ex-offenders reoffending is significantly decreased if they have a home, a job and access to healthcare, including substance misuse treatment. We are building on the investment made in 2021 by spending £200 million a year by 2024-25 to address these factors and ensure prison leavers have a strong foundation on release.

Our Prisons Strategy White Paper, published in December, sets out our vision for reducing reoffending. This includes our aim that no-one subject to probation supervision is released from prison homeless. We are therefore expanding our new Community Accommodation Service, which currently provides up to twelve weeks temporary housing in five regions, to support the thousands of people in England and Wales who leave prison each year without accommodation.

We plan to transform how prisons get offenders into work. We will open our doors to the private sector to overhaul the opportunities for work offered in prisons, on Release on Temporary Licence and on release. We will do this by implementing dedicated Employment Advisors in prisons, developing a digital tool that will match prisoners to jobs and establishing local employment boards to link prisons with business networks.

We will also introduce new Resettlement Passports, which will be set up prior to release and will bring together the key information and services that an individual needs to resettle into society.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many prisons have (a) provision for and (b) operational in-cell devices provided by (i) Coracle and (ii) other providers, broken down by prison.

The total number of prison sites which have provision for, and operational in-cell devices provided by Coracle is currently 21. There will also be approximately 300 more devices being deployed across an additional 20 sites in total by the end of January 2022. The table below breaks down the figures for the number of these in-cell devices by prison.

HMP Belmarsh

17

HMP Buckley Hall

20

HMP Cardiff

5

HMP Full Sutton

15

HMP Guys Marsh

8

HMP Highpoint (North and South)

18

HMP Hollesley Bay

11

HMP Hull

12

HMP Hydebank Wood College

16

HMP Isle of Wight

20

HMP Isis

15

HMP Kirklevington Grange

10

HMP Northumberland

8

HMP Parc

5

HMP Pentonville

11

HMP Prescoed

2

HMP Stocken

3

HMP Swaleside

12

HMP Swansea

5

HMP Warren Hill

10

HMP Whitemoor

15

Total

238

The total number of prison sites which have provision for, and operational in-cell devices by other providers (MoJ D&T managed in-cell technology devices) is currently 8 with an additional 7 sites planned for deployment by the end of 2022. The table below breaks down the figures for the number of these in-cell devices by prison, currently deployed, together with the sites that have the infrastructure deployed, with device and digital services deployment planned for this year:

Site

No. of MoJ managed In-cell Tech Devices

Notes

HMP Lindholme

900

Full deployment under In-Cell Tech Programme

HM YOI Feltham

260

Full deployment under In-Cell Tech Programme

HMP/YOI New Hall

323

Full deployment under In-Cell Tech Programme

HM YOI Wetherby

2

Deployment in progress under in-cell tech programme

HM YOI Cookham Wood

106

Full deployment under In-Cell Tech Programme

HM YOI Werrington

68

Full deployment under In-Cell Tech Programme

HMP Wayland

923

Full deployment in 2016

HMP Berwyn

1810

Full deployment in 2016

HMP The Mount

Deployments planned by end of 2022 under In-Cell Tech Programme

HMP Ranby

Deployments planned by end of 2022 under In-Cell Tech Programme

HMP Styal

Deployments planned by end of 2022 under In-Cell Tech Programme

HMP Erlstoke

Deployments planned by end of 2022 under In-Cell Tech Programme

HMP Stoke Heath

Deployments planned by end of 2022 under In-Cell Tech Programme

HMP Garth

Deployments planned by end of 2022 under In-Cell Tech Programme

HMP Swaleside

Deployments planned by end of 2022 under In-Cell Tech Programme

Total devices deployed as of 6/1/2022

4392

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many random drug tests in prisons in England and Wales returned positive results in (a) 2019, (b) 2020 and (c) 2021.

In the year ending March 2019 there were 9,193 positive random drug tests in prisons in England and Wales (16.9% of all tests taken). This was published in the HMPPS Annual Digest: April 2018 to March 2019 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). In the year ending March 2020 there were 7,275 positive random drug tests in England and Wales (14% of all tests taken). This was published in the HMPPS Annual Digest: April 2019 to March 2020 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

Data for the year to March 2021 is not comparable to previous years due to a significant reduction in testing volumes caused by the impact of COVID-19 in prisons. As a result, random drug testing data was not reported in the HMPPS Annual Digest: April 2020 to March 2021 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). in the usual format. However, it is noted in the Digest that in the 12 months to March 2021, there were 4,738 random mandatory drug tests (rMDT) carried out nationally in total, of which 606 (12.8%) gave a positive result.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many prisons in England and Wales are overcrowded.

As at 31 December 2021, 61 prisons operated with a population above their Certified Normal Accommodation (CNA) but not above their operational capacity. The operational capacity of a prison is the total number of prisoners that an establishment can accommodate and is determined by the Prison Group Director.

CNA, or uncrowded capacity, is the Prison Service’s own measure of accommodation. CNA represents the good, decent standard of accommodation that the Service aspires to provide all prisoners. Where operational capacity of a prison is higher than the CNA it will be classed as having the potential to be 'crowded', which can mean prisoners share cells.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) publishes monthly individual prison population and capacity information through the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/prison-population-statistics

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the debate of 10 March 2021, Official report, col 144WH, what discussions his Department has had on the recent work of the Criminal Procedure Rule Committee in respect of proposed changes to the legal status of algorithmic decisions in criminal law.

The outcome of the Rule Committee’s continuing discussion is awaited and Ministry of Justice officials are participating. The Committee will be pleased to describe that discussion in full detail and to supply the hon. Member with copies of its papers. Its secretary will write to him with those documents.

James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate he has made of the average number of cases (a) crown courts and (b) magistrates courts have heard in each of the last three years.

The table below shows the latest published data on the number of disposals in the Crown Courts in the last three years. This data can be found on the criminal court statistics information page.

Number of disposals in the Crown Courts

2019

2020

2021 (up to June)

99,654

78,195

48,018

The table below shows the latest published data on the number of disposals of criminal cases in the Magistrates’ Courts in the last three years. This data can be found on the criminal court statistics information page

Number of disposals in the Magistrates’ Courts

2019

2020

2021 (up to June)

1,441,778

1,040,308

590,065

James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 10 January 2022 to Question 98316, if he will publish the eligibility criteria for early release under the End of Custody Temporary Release scheme.

The End of Custody Temporary Release scheme (ECTR) operated between April and August 2020. Full eligibility details were published at the time. These included minimising the risk to public protection, with those assessed as a high risk of serious harm or convicted of sexual or violent offences excluded; only those who were already close to release and had already served at least half of their time in prison were eligible. In order to comply with contemporaneous Government directions on Covid-19 prisoners would have to have suitable accommodation and healthcare provision available outside of custody.

When considering who would be eligible for the scheme, establishments assessed their entire populations to find those potentially eligible based on sentence length, and offence type among other factors. Those who met the initial criteria were then assessed based on their behaviour in custody and healthcare needs among other factors prior to deciding if they were suitable for release. Data on the number of prisoners who reached the final stages of risk assessment for the ECTR could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 10 January 2022 to Question 98316, how many risk assessments of inmates were carried out under the End of Custody Temporary Release scheme.

The End of Custody Temporary Release scheme (ECTR) operated between April and August 2020. Full eligibility details were published at the time. These included minimising the risk to public protection, with those assessed as a high risk of serious harm or convicted of sexual or violent offences excluded; only those who were already close to release and had already served at least half of their time in prison were eligible. In order to comply with contemporaneous Government directions on Covid-19 prisoners would have to have suitable accommodation and healthcare provision available outside of custody.

When considering who would be eligible for the scheme, establishments assessed their entire populations to find those potentially eligible based on sentence length, and offence type among other factors. Those who met the initial criteria were then assessed based on their behaviour in custody and healthcare needs among other factors prior to deciding if they were suitable for release. Data on the number of prisoners who reached the final stages of risk assessment for the ECTR could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 15 December 2021 to Question 90879, on Prisoners' Release, how many prisoners released in error had been convicted of rape; and for how long those prisoners remained at large before being returned to custody.

A prisoner is released in error if they are released earlier than their correct release date, they will be unlawfully at large until and unless they are subsequently released correctly or returned to custody. If the person released is not aware of the error and makes no attempt to evade arrest, then they have committed no offence and, in that sense, they may not be at fault.

Releases in error are monitored closely to analyse the frequency across the estate and identify any trends nationally, while taking into consideration the management of risk to the public.

(i) How many prisoners released in error had been convicted of rape; and for how long these prisoners remained at large before being returned to custody

If a request is made for information where very small numbers are involved, the MoJ must consider whether this could lead to the identification of individuals. Since the total number of prisoners released in error where their main offence was rape is two or fewer, we are not able to give further details either by year or for the whole period.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the current average waiting times are for the (a) first hearing date in an employment tribunal claim and (b) publication of the judgment.

(a) The most current information on waiting times to first hearing is set out in the table below.

(b) We aim to work within the general correspondence targets and upload judgments to the public register within 10 working days of promulgation.

Period

The average time (in days) from receipt to first hearing

The average time (weeks) from receipt to first hearing

Single Claims 1

Multiple Claims 2

All Claims

Single Claims 1

Multiple Claims 2

All Claims

1st April 2020 - 31st March 2021

335

388

340

48

55

49

Notes relating to the above data

1 Single claims are made by a sole employee/worker, relating to alleged breaches of employment rights

2 Multiple claims are where two or more people bring proceedings arising out of the same facts, usually against a common employer. In this instance the lead multiple claim would be listed for hearing.

Data are taken from a live management information system and can change over time. Data are management information and are not subject to the same level of checks as official statistics.

The data provided is the most recent available and for that reason might differ from any previously published information.

Data has not been cross referenced with case files.

Although care is taken when processing and analysing the data, the details are subject to inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale case management system and is the best data that is available.

Published statistics can be found on www.gov.uk/government/statistics/tribunal-statistics-quarterly-january-to-march-2020 and information on Employment Tribunal outcomes can be found on www.gov.uk/employment-tribunal-decisions.

Published Management Information (used by HMCTS for understanding workload volumes and timeliness at a national level during COVID-19): HMCTS weekly management information during coronavirus - March 2020 to May 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The most recent Employment Tribunal data covers the period up to March 2021. This is because the Employment Tribunal has moved to a new case management system and HMCTS is currently working to incorporate the new IT system alongside longer-established data sources to provide a more complete and consistent data set for this jurisdiction.

James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many prosecutions have been brought under The Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Act 2021 to date; and what sentences were imposed.

National statistics on the number of prosecutions and the sentences imposed under the ‘The Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Act 2021’ for the calendar year of 2021 are due for publication in May 2022.

James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, when he plans to reply to the letters from the hon. Member for Weston-super-Mare of 25 October and 23 November 2021 on behalf of his constituent, Holly Saunders.

The Government recognises the great importance of the effective and timely handling of correspondence.

The delay in responding to your letters of the 25 October and 23 November 2021 was the result of an administrative error. We have now responded to both letters.

James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate he has made of the number of court sitting days lost as a result of broken heating systems, lifts and disrepair in courts in each of the last three years.

HMCTS does not hold court sittings data that provides this level of detail.

Since 4 October 2021 HMCTS has been explicitly capturing the effect of planned and unplanned maintenance on our estate, and this has resulted in the lost availability of 754 courtroom days up to 1 January 2022. This represents less than 1% of sitting days during this period. Not all lost courtroom days result in a lost sitting day as these can be transferred to other rooms, if available.

The HMCTS estate is kept under regular review and priority is given to ensuring that buildings are safe, secure, meet statutory requirements and protect continuity of service.

James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
6th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 5 January 2021 to Question 94398 on Prisons: Drugs, whether he will publish data on the weights of drug finds by individual type of (a) Class A, (b) Class B and (c) Class C drug.

Data on the weights of drug finds by individual types of (a) Class A, (b) Class B and (c) Class C drugs is published here (Chart 9, 2_b) from 2017 to 2021. It is not possible to split the total weight of drugs found in prisons by type or class of drug, so it is not possible to publish the data on drug weights by class of drug.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the level of the backlog of cases at Barnet Family Court as at 15 December 2021; and what steps he is taking to tackle that backlog.

The backlog in the family court at Barnet for private and public law case is as shown in the table below. Average timeliness in weeks has been provided also. Barnet is part of the West London Designated Family Court area. To give context the data for the whole area is also provided.

Financial year to September 2021

Barnet

West London

Number of outstanding private law cases

925

2,596

Number of outstanding public law cases

241

488

Average timeliness in weeks for private law

63.9

55.8

Average timeliness in weeks for public law

51.9

47.1

The administration and senior judiciary are working closely together to increase the sitting capacity across the West London Cluster, which comprises of West London Family Court and Barnet County Court, and to re-balance the arrears of work across the region. Sitting days in the West London area have increased by 25%, comparing the financial year September 2021 to the same period in 2020.

In recognition of the pressures on family work across the West London estate, a Nightingale Court was created at Petty France with four additional courts. Additional courts are also being utilised in the Royal Courts of Justice.

The increased use of digital hearings in family have allowed the court to use more part-time judiciary and increase the number of hearings heard on a remote basis, and the introduction of a new pilot (known as Pilot Practice Direction 36Q*) is enabling the court to progress private law cases through the system more quickly by introducing early triage and case management between issue and the first hearing.

*PD36Q New Pilot Practice Direction 36Q came into force from 23 April 2020. Pilot PD36Q modifies PD12B (Child Arrangements Programme) to provide temporary local flexibility over procedures for progressing applications for Child Arrangements Orders.

James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent assessment he has made of the potential effect on (a) children and (b) families of the delay in hearing cases at Barnet Family Court.

The backlog in the family court at Barnet for private and public law case is as shown in the table below. Average timeliness in weeks has been provided also. Barnet is part of the West London Designated Family Court area. To give context the data for the whole area is also provided.

Financial year to September 2021

Barnet

West London

Number of outstanding private law cases

925

2,596

Number of outstanding public law cases

241

488

Average timeliness in weeks for private law

63.9

55.8

Average timeliness in weeks for public law

51.9

47.1

The administration and senior judiciary are working closely together to increase the sitting capacity across the West London Cluster, which comprises of West London Family Court and Barnet County Court, and to re-balance the arrears of work across the region. Sitting days in the West London area have increased by 25%, comparing the financial year September 2021 to the same period in 2020.

In recognition of the pressures on family work across the West London estate, a Nightingale Court was created at Petty France with four additional courts. Additional courts are also being utilised in the Royal Courts of Justice.

The increased use of digital hearings in family have allowed the court to use more part-time judiciary and increase the number of hearings heard on a remote basis, and the introduction of a new pilot (known as Pilot Practice Direction 36Q*) is enabling the court to progress private law cases through the system more quickly by introducing early triage and case management between issue and the first hearing.

*PD36Q New Pilot Practice Direction 36Q came into force from 23 April 2020. Pilot PD36Q modifies PD12B (Child Arrangements Programme) to provide temporary local flexibility over procedures for progressing applications for Child Arrangements Orders.

James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the Government's timescale is for the decision on whether to extend the maximum sentence for necrophilia.

The government is reviewing the statutory maximum penalty available for the offence of sexual penetration of a corpse under section 70 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. This review is taking place alongside the independent inquiry into the events surrounding David Fuller’s horrific offending in hospitals in Kent. That inquiry is due to publish interim findings shortly, with a final report published at a later date. Our review of available maximum penalties is likely to follow similar timescales, to ensure findings from the wider inquiry can be taken into account.

The current statutory maximum penalty is for one offence; where more than one offence is sentenced at the same time, each offence will be sentenced individually and the overall sentence passed will reflect the totality of offending behaviour, which may mean sentences being served consecutively. Our review of the statutory maximum penalty is considering instances of the commission of multiple, as well as single, offences.

James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether the Government plans to extend the maximum sentence for necrophilia from two years for cases that are consecutive.

The government is reviewing the statutory maximum penalty available for the offence of sexual penetration of a corpse under section 70 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. This review is taking place alongside the independent inquiry into the events surrounding David Fuller’s horrific offending in hospitals in Kent. That inquiry is due to publish interim findings shortly, with a final report published at a later date. Our review of available maximum penalties is likely to follow similar timescales, to ensure findings from the wider inquiry can be taken into account.

The current statutory maximum penalty is for one offence; where more than one offence is sentenced at the same time, each offence will be sentenced individually and the overall sentence passed will reflect the totality of offending behaviour, which may mean sentences being served consecutively. Our review of the statutory maximum penalty is considering instances of the commission of multiple, as well as single, offences.

James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many times he has visited a (a) secure training centre, (b) young offender institution (c) secure children's home; and if he will provide the dates of each of those visits.

The Deputy Prime Minister and I have been and are committed to visiting establishments across the youth estate in the coming months, subject to the “National Framework” which controls measures for preventing Covid transmission.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 1 November 2021 to Question 67051, what progress he has made in reducing the delays at Westferry Family Court; and if he will make a statement.

Work continues to be undertaken on the redistribution of work to help support East London Family Court. Capacity across the estate is being fully utilised and Financial Remedy and Public Law cases continue to be heard at the Royal Courts of Justice and the Nightingale Court at Petty France. Pilot Practice Directorate 36Q has also been implemented at East London Family Court (New Pilot Practice Direction 36Q came into force from 23 April 2020. Pilot PD36Q modifies PD12B (Child Arrangements Programme) to provide temporary local flexibility over procedures for progressing applications for Child Arrangements Orders).

As a result of the continuing exceptionally high receipts of Private Law work at East London Family Court, along with the continuing pressures on judicial recruitment and Cafcass resource, it has been agreed with the Senior Judiciary that some of this work will initially be heard at Central and West London Family Courts with a longer plan of transferring some of the East London postcodes to these courts to balance the waiting times across the region.

The impact of the rebalancing exercise is unlikely to show for several months due to the nature of how cases are listed. However, despite continuing pressures, outstanding cases remain fairly static with 2299 at the end of October and 2251 at the end of December.

OPT Report - FamilyMan Private Law Workload and Performance (BY CASE)

James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate he has made of the number of convictions for pet theft in each year since 2015.

Information on theft offences held by the Ministry of Justice does not identify if a pet, specifically, was stolen. The information may be held on court record but to be able to identify cases in which pets were stolen would require access to individual court records which would be of disproportionate cost.

The Ministry of Justice has published information on sentences for offenders convicted for more general theft offences, up to December 2020, available in the ‘Outcomes by Offence’ data tool, here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/987715/outcomes-by-offence-2020.xlsx

James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate he has made of the number of prisoners that would be released under the electronic tags scheme to limit the spread and impact of covid-19 in the prison estate.

In April 2020 we leased an additional 2,000 electronic monitoring tags to support our End of Custody Temporary Release scheme to limit the spread and impact of Covid-19 in prions. This was based on early estimates that up to 4,000 prisoners could be eligible. Early release on tag was one element of our approach. Other measures included reducing numbers on remand, creating extra cells, limited prisoner movements, isolating prisoners with symptoms, shielding the vulnerable and quarantining new arrivals.

In considering these early releases, the priority of HM Prison and Probation Service was to put the safety of the public first, which is why offenders needed to meet strict eligibility criteria and pass a risk assessment to be released early.

Between April 2020 when the scheme was introduced and August 2020 when the scheme was paused, 262 prisoners were released with an electronic tag. A number of surplus tags were also used elsewhere in the criminal justice system in support of our ambition to make full use of the benefits of electronic monitoring technology.

We continue to keep the options for reducing the impact of Covid-19 in the prison estate under review. However, at this stage there are no plans to reintroduce the End of Custody Temporary Release scheme.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many electronic tags were leased by his Department to limit the spread and impact of covid-19 in the prison estate in (a) 2019-20 and (b) 2020-21.

In April 2020 we leased an additional 2,000 electronic monitoring tags to support our End of Custody Temporary Release scheme to limit the spread and impact of Covid-19 in prions. This was based on early estimates that up to 4,000 prisoners could be eligible. Early release on tag was one element of our approach. Other measures included reducing numbers on remand, creating extra cells, limited prisoner movements, isolating prisoners with symptoms, shielding the vulnerable and quarantining new arrivals.

In considering these early releases, the priority of HM Prison and Probation Service was to put the safety of the public first, which is why offenders needed to meet strict eligibility criteria and pass a risk assessment to be released early.

Between April 2020 when the scheme was introduced and August 2020 when the scheme was paused, 262 prisoners were released with an electronic tag. A number of surplus tags were also used elsewhere in the criminal justice system in support of our ambition to make full use of the benefits of electronic monitoring technology.

We continue to keep the options for reducing the impact of Covid-19 in the prison estate under review. However, at this stage there are no plans to reintroduce the End of Custody Temporary Release scheme.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many prisoners were released with electronic monitoring tags under a scheme introduced as part of measures to limit the spread and impact of covid-19 in the prison estate.

In April 2020 we leased an additional 2,000 electronic monitoring tags to support our End of Custody Temporary Release scheme to limit the spread and impact of Covid-19 in prions. This was based on early estimates that up to 4,000 prisoners could be eligible. Early release on tag was one element of our approach. Other measures included reducing numbers on remand, creating extra cells, limited prisoner movements, isolating prisoners with symptoms, shielding the vulnerable and quarantining new arrivals.

In considering these early releases, the priority of HM Prison and Probation Service was to put the safety of the public first, which is why offenders needed to meet strict eligibility criteria and pass a risk assessment to be released early.

Between April 2020 when the scheme was introduced and August 2020 when the scheme was paused, 262 prisoners were released with an electronic tag. A number of surplus tags were also used elsewhere in the criminal justice system in support of our ambition to make full use of the benefits of electronic monitoring technology.

We continue to keep the options for reducing the impact of Covid-19 in the prison estate under review. However, at this stage there are no plans to reintroduce the End of Custody Temporary Release scheme.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
5th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 15 December 2021 to Question 90879, of those convicted offenders released in error from (a) courts and (b) prisons since 2010, how many have (i) not returned to prison and (ii) returned to prison; and for those returned, what duration of time elapsed before their return to prison.

A prisoner is released in error if they are released earlier than their correct release date, they will be unlawfully at large until and unless they are subsequently released correctly or returned to custody. If the person so released is not aware of the error and makes no attempt to evade arrest, then they have committed no offence and, in that sense, they may not be at fault.

Releases in error are monitored closely to analyse the frequency across the estate and identify any trends nationally, while taking into consideration the management of risk to the public.

Between 2010 and March 2021, 678 releases in error took place. I have asked officials to review methods of measuring rates of return, owing to the complexity of such data gathering. For example, if the prisoner was released one or two days early, they would not be recalled to prison, however, would be counted as still at large.

This data is not currently held, and information could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what his policy is on amending the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 to enable CILEX lawyers to become Crown Prosecutors.

The government values the important role played by CILEX lawyers. As part of the Judicial Diversity Forum priorities for 2021/22, the government will explore fuller opportunities for Chartered Legal Executives to gain court experience, including advocacy.

James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the effect of the Common Platform roll-out on staff (a) workload, (b) stress levels, and (c) morale.

HMCTS has embarked upon a transformative change agenda, with a view to modernise and improve the outcomes significantly for the users who rely on courts/tribunals, and to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the system. Insofar as workload is concerned, the point of the system is to automate more, and make staff (and professional partner/user) lives easier, providing a more efficient and consistent service.

For stress and morale, the implementation of change always needs to be effectively managed. We are committed with supporting our workforce through this process, our longstanding daily team meetings across our courts provides a manager with a temperature check on how teams are feeling about change. Where stress indictors are apparent, a member of staff or their line manager will use an individual stress risk assessment to discuss, define and mitigate stress. Alongside that, our annual staff survey provides us with a real understanding of the impact change has on our staff.

James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to make accessible versions of consultation documents immediately available instead of people having to request large font and easy read formats.

For all consultations, the Department gives due consideration to the needs of the audience group and we take whatever action we can to improve reach and accessibility, including by following best practice through provision of accessible formats for consultation documents.

We have worked to ensure that the recently published Victims' Bill Consultation is as accessible as possible and that we enable the voices of stakeholders and victims to be heard. This has included making a large print version of the document available from launch (upon request), which we also shared with our key partners in the victims sector in December to strengthen availability further. We are also directly engaging with victims and specialist victim support organisations during the consultation period to overcome any issues of accessibility and maximize the opportunity for engagement.

James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of collecting data on protected characteristics within the Criminal Justice System recorded adult rape offences scorecards; and whether he has plans to collect that data.

We recognise the importance of the Criminal Justice System serving all communities and individuals in England and Wales. For it to do this, we need to understand the diverse make up of those it is serving.

The scorecard is a transformation in the way we will manage and improve future performance in the Criminal Justice System and, as our guiding principles, we are using the best data available to us. This means we do not currently have victim metrics which are broken down by protected characteristics.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent assessment he has made of the effect on prisons in (a) Merseyside and (b) Lancashire of prison officers self-isolating after testing positive for covid-19.

The impact of prison officers self-isolating with Covid-19 across Merseyside and Lancashire alters daily. The numbers of staff in self-isolation are monitored at each prison and are reported to the Prison Group Director’s (PGD) Office daily, so if assistance is required it can be sought. There is a twice weekly Covid call with all prisons and their relevant PDG office to provide updates and support.

Different prisons face different risks, and preventative measures are implemented accordingly. All prisons have regime contingency plans in place that can respond if significant staff shortages occur and there is a national framework to provide support from outside of region within the Gold Command structure if required. All prisons within both regions are currently running regimes in line with the national Gold guidance and have sufficient staff to do so.

All prisons have control mechanisms to test staff and we follow national HMPPS guidance on isolation in all cases.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)